The AMC has a long-standing commitment to using its huts, lodges and sporting camps as models for sustainable operations and environmental stewardship. These policies are designed to both reduce our environmental impact and provide an opportunity for guests to learn how to practice conservation at home. In some cases we are upgrading our destinations to make them more energy-efficient. In the case of the Highland Center, we built a lodge and education center from the ground up to utilize the latest in green design and technology.
Read the complete Highland Center “green” story>>
All New Hampshire huts and lodges have been awarded “Environmental Champion” status by the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association's Sustainable Lodging and Restaurant Program.
Read a full list of awards received by AMC for environmental design and stewardship>>
AMC is committed to continuing to find new ways to reduce energy use, with a goal of reducing its total carbon footprint by 80% by 2050.
Read about AMC’s efforts to address Climate Change>>
Energy and Water Conservation
We strive to make our frontcountry lodges and backcountry huts models of energy efficiency. Our New Hampshire huts and lodges all utilize compact fluorescent lighting, and windows in frontcountry lodges have been replaced with energy efficient double- and triple-glazed, argon-filled models. Cardigan Lodge utilizes engineered cellulose insulation made of recycled newspapers. The Highland Center, built from the ground up as a green building, is wrapped in recyclable polystyrene with over six inches of insulation in the walls, and eight inches in the roof. Sixty percent of its windows face south to maximize use of natural light.
We encourage our guests to carpool by providing a rideshare bulletin board, and offer a hiker shuttle between the Highland Center, Joe Dodge Lodge, and major White Mountain trailheads to encourage energy efficiency and use of mass transit.
Where practical, we utilize renewable energy sources. Our “off-the-grid” AMC huts are primarily powered by solar panels and small wind generators; one hut also utilizes a small hydropower system. Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins also utilizes solar and wind power for lighting. The Highland Center utilizes a high-efficiency biomass heating and hot water system that burns locally harvested wood and generates ultra-low emissions.
All six below-treeline huts utilize waterless, Clivus Multrum™ composting toilets. Above treeline, one hut uses an AMC-designed waterless storage system; the other is scheduled to be upgraded in the near future. These systems have reduced the need to fly out waste at the end of the huts’ full-service season. Composting toilets are also used at Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins and frontcountry public restrooms at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, Thayer Hall at the Highland Center, and at the Macomber Family Information Center in Crawford Notch. Low-flow showerheads and toilets are in place at our White Mountain front country lodges. All three New Hampshire front country lodges have minimal landscaping or use native plants and do little landscape watering. Frontcounty parking areas are unpaved to minimize runoff.
What green technologies are used at each AMC Destination?>>
Waste Reduction and Recycling
We focus on reducing waste wherever possible. Hut guests will notice we do not provide napkins or paper towels to reduce the amount of waste that must be packed out. We compost food waste at all locations, bear-proofing our composting stations as needed. At our lodges, soap and shampoo dispensers are used to reduce waste caused by individual bars or bottles. We buy food and supplies in bulk and support vendors whose packaging is recycled and recyclable.
All AMC Huts enforce a carry-in, carry-out policy. Frontcounty lodges place recycling bins in prominent locations.
The Highland Center was built using recycled building materials wherever possible. Framing utilized 98% recycled structural steel. The post–and-beam construction of our dining room includes timbers recycled from a shipping wharf. Where used, carpeting includes recycled content.
We buy locally wherever possible, both to support local economies and reduce energy used in shipping food and supplies long distances. We are proud of the tables, chairs and bunkbeds used at Cardigan Lodge and the Highland Center, built by an employee-owned company in Vermont that utilizes sustainably harvested “character wood” with knots and distinctive grain that would be discarded in traditional furniture manufacturing. We use biodegradable cleaning products. Paper products are purchased with highest level of recycled and post-consumer content possible.
Daily green tours are offered at the Highland Center; and “green technology” talks are offered daily by hut naturalists. Guests are also encouraged to participate in our Mountain Watch “citizen-science” program, and assist in making field observations on haze and plant flowering cycles which can contribute or our understanding of climate change. Guests are also encouraged to join our online Conservation Action Network (CAN). A native plant garden at Joe Dodge Lodge, developed with the New England Wildflower Society, provides an additional opportunity to educate the public.
Minimizing Backcountry Impact
Along with the energy conservation and waste reduction strategies noted above, we manage trails to our huts to minimize erosion and help protect vegetation. We monitor air quality at the summit and base of Mt. Washington, and have worked to protect and restore rare alpine flowers, including a successful restoration effort for the Robbin’s cinquefoil, resulting in its removal from the federal Endangered Species list.